Find Arts & Culture in Central Minnesota

By Minnesota Heartland

You Betcha mural Brainerd

You Betcha mural, Brainerd / @hellenjsilveira

Central Minnesota is teeming with cultural and artistic opportunities. While most concerts, live theater, dance and festivals are currently on hold (read to the end so you’ll know for later), there are still plenty of ways to feed your yearning for the arts in Greater Minnesota.

Feast your eyes on vibrant murals throughout the region. Brainerd, Perham, Hutchinson, Sauk Centre and Fergus Falls all have these treasurers around the corner, peeking from an alley, on the side of an historic building or along river bridges. Hutchinson created a self-guided Sculpture Stroll to showcase the town's 13 permanent sculptures, two historic murals and nine rotating sculptures. Sauk Centre also offers a guided mural tour, which is a great way to see the community. Turtles get top billing in Perham where 210 turtles were painted by residents and visitors.

A glass sculpture in Fergus Falls

A glass sculpture on display in Fergus Falls

The talent of local and regional artists is showcased throughout local galleries as well. The Kaddatz Galleries in Fergus Falls feature the work of noted wood block artist, Charles Beck. In Brainerd, The Crossing Arts Alliance gallery and The Franklin Arts Center are favorite spots. And for those visitors who want to create the art, check out the makerspace in Sauk Centre or the chance to do your own weaving with fiber artists in Fergus Falls.

Woman at Mille Lacs Indian Museum pow wow display

Native American pow wow regalia on display at the Mille Lacs Indian Museum

History and culture come alive in creative and memorable ways. The heritage of the Mille Lacs band of Ojibwa is shared through Pow Wows and the local Indian Museum and Trading Post. In Otter Tail Lakes Country the Otter Tail Museum tells the stories of early settlers to this tallgrass prairie region of Minnesota.

Two museums in Alexandria are open and ready for visitors. The Legacy of the Lakes Museum celebrates Minnesota lakes history and displays rare boats, and the Runestone Museum houses the famous Kensington Runestone, a relic that states Viking explorers visited Minnesota 100 years before the voyages of Columbus!

Paramount Theatre exterior and marquee

The Paramount is a multi-function arts hub that includes the restored theater, an art gallery and visual arts studios

Yes, Central Minnesota theaters are mostly dark this summer and fall. In the future though, you can count on live theater, gospel choirs, chamber orchestras, comedy and dance to return and delight visitors of all ages. The other crowd-pleasing summer staples that are quiet now are festivals—county fairs, celebrations, music festivals and marching band competitions are all on hold. Know that the communities miss hosting them as much as visitors miss attending them. We’re hopeful that 2021 will see a return to these favorite activities.

Minnesota Heartland is a regional association that works in partnership with Explore Minnesota to promote the 33 counties in Northwest and Central Minnesota.